Originally Posted by dinahx
First of all, if you practice the complementary and recommended Ecological Breastfeeding, even if you totally ignored your temperature and mucus signs, you would never have 20 children in 20 years, it is physically completely impossible. Yes, some women get their cycles back early despite faithfully practicing this method, but there is considerable evidence that they do not conceive until later due to factors like shortened luteal phase.
I have to address this because it is simply not true. I am a shining example of demand breastfeeding of my children - with my DD it was every two hours around the clock for about 15 months before she slowed down - and I still got my cycle back at 6 weeks with her and experienced a chemical pregnancy at 3 months PP. At the time I was not Catholic and chose to have an IUD inserted. 8 days after having the IUD out I ovulated and conceived my DS. I had another IUD inserted shortly after his birth. I became Catholic during Easter this year and I had my IUD removed during RCIA and began practicing NFP with my husband's reluctant consent. 3 months later I was unexpectedly pregnant, I accept that there was user error but I was still demand breastfeeding my DS often and with him I had gotten my cycle back at 4 months PP. I have conceived all three children with a 10 day LP, which is on the short side. My point is, you can be EXTREMELY fertile even while practicing demand breastfeeding and having a short LP.
To the OP, I totally understand where you are at. My husband is not Catholic and is really stressed about the teachings regarding sexual intercourse in marriage and artificial birth control. I've only scanned most of the posts in this thread but ABC isn't the only issue in regards to sexual unity in marriage - there are many aspects of sexual expression that are lumped together in the "no-no" category. The bottom line is that the Church teaches that sexual intercourse's main function is to be life supporting and that every single sexual act must be open to life. It is a bonus that sexual intercourse is pleasurable and can be an emotionally uniting experience for married couples. Everything is always tied back into being open and supportive of the creation of new human life - so if you are participating in a sexual act with your husband that couldn't lead to procreation than it is considered illicit. Any sexual expression alone or with a partner outside of marriage is prohibited.
Now, I know this all is very stressful for new converts - it is still extremely stressful for me as I am getting ready to deliver and my DH and I cannot come to terms on what we are going to do after I have this baby. He is certain he wants no more children and I obviously cannot contracept or support his doing so. It is hard - and my non-religious husband isn't going to be gung ho about sitting down with a priest and being told what he is and isn't allowed to do sexually with his own wife, especially considering that the rules changed in a big way quite suddenly from what we had agreed upon in the past and those new rules can be extremely life altering for him. We are at a point in which he is ready to have a vasectomy because he just doesn't want the discussion anymore. And in my weaker moments it just seems like the easy, obvious solution because I don't want to argue about it anymore. It's hard all the way around.
I respect the Church's teachings even if some of them are hard to accept. I do understand and appreciate the complexity of the theology surrounding the human body and sexuality that the Church has given to its members. I do agree that our world has grown dimmer and more hopeless since the advent of mass ABC and the destruction of respect for the creation of life that sexual intercourse can bring to a couple. We want all the pleasure and none of the responsibility - artificial birth control is just one small slice of a very large pie in which this fairly modern concept is applied in our lives. And instead of deciding to take responsibility we just find other more appalling ways to deal with our lack of self-control - mass and widespread abortion is obviously a consequence of the very modern belief that pregnancy is inconvenient and easily dealt with if it isn't something greatly desired and planned for. When ABC fails instead of accepting responsibility for participation in the act in which conception can occur, the life that has been created is just gotten rid of.
When people compare NFP to artificial birth control they are missing the point of it all. NFP demands that couples be aware of the life bringing potential of sexual intercourse and if they cannot (for hopefully a grave reason) be open to welcoming a child then they just do not engage in sex together during the suspected fertile period. That is a very different thing from knowing you are fertile, not wanting to be responsible for the natural consequence of that fertility and just strapping on a condom and having fun anyway. It requires a lot of self control on the part of both partners, excellent communication and a willing heart. And as I know very well, when your partner is lacking in support of it it can cause serious stress within the marriage.
I have no idea what we are going to do either, just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone in what you are experiencing in your marriage. It is hard to be a loving, supportive and committed partner in marriage and still be submissive to the Church's teaching when your husband is not Catholic. It feels almost like having to choose allegiance to one or the other.